Gang injunction could start soon

Oakland will throw a new weapon at members of one of its most notorious gangs — an injunction to stop them from engaging in gang activity in a 100-block “safety zone.”

City Attorney John Russo filed a lawsuit for the injunction last week against the North Side Oakland Gang, which police blame for seven homicides in 2008 and another seven in 2009, including the murder of Oakland Technical High School student Desiree Davis in September.

“This gang has terrorized our community, intimidated witnesses and recruited children to their criminal enterprise,” Russo wrote in a press release. “They are part of a malevolent force that has crippled our city for decades and continues to hold Oakland back today.”

If granted by a judge, the injunction will declare North Side Oakland a public nuisance and prohibit certain activities within the safety zone — about 100 blocks between I-580, Emeryville, Berkeley and Telegraph Avenue, according to the press release.

If the courts approve the injunction, 19 identified members of the gang will no longer be able to hang out with each other in the zone. They also will be unable to possess guns or other dangerous weapons or tools for graffiti or vandalism.

The injunction would also ban them from recruiting new members in the zone, trespassing and intimidating witnesses. They would have to follow all laws, including those involving curfews and drugs.

If they violate any part of the injunction, they would face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Some students who heard of the injunction at Fremont Federation of High Schools were skeptical that it would do much good.

“If they focus on one gang, it will work but how are they going to stop all the other gangs?” asked Media Academy junior Brittany Jackson.

However, Miguel De Luna, an Oakland police officer assigned to Fremont Federation, thinks differently.

“It will help the gang violence,” he said. “I don’t think it will stop everything, but it will slow it down.”